Why You Don't Want to Use Antibacterial Soap Anymore

The antibacterial agent triclosan, commonly used in certain soaps, is starting to appear in consumer products ranging from socks to toothpaste.

But research shows that under normal household conditions triclosan can react with chlorinated water to produce chloroform, a likely carcinogen.

An initial 2005 study showed that, in the laboratory, pure triclosan reacts with free chlorine to produce chloroform. More recently, follow-up studies on 16 products found that household goods containing triclosan produced either chloroform or other chlorinated byproducts.

In some soaps, the triclosan degraded within one minute of exposure to chlorinated water at temperatures used for household cleaning.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:


I posted an alarming report two years ago about the dangers of using the chlorinated water that comes from your tap with antimicrobial soaps and cleaners containing triclosan. I am not surprised to learn those initial reports have been confirmed; products containing triclosan can produce the cancer-causing substance chloroform.

That is one of the benefits you get by reading this newsletter. It is very common that you'll be alerted of health issues YEARS before they become widely publicized in the traditional media.

So be alert because the average consumer has NO CLUE this is a problem. I see it all over. In the office building where my Web site is located, they use antibacterial soap so I had to explain to the building manager how crazy and unnecessary that was.

Antibacterial soaps are widespread in most commercial institutions. If you see it, be an activist and tell the manager. Show them the evidence and ask them to switch. No reason they need to poison the public so some company can make money and provide no benefit, only harm.

Because water temperatures, chlorination and the antibacterial products used can vary based on the locale, it's hard for scientists to predict the precise amount of chloroform to which you may be exposed. That said, the use of triclosan in some conditions can expand your exposure to chloroform by as much as 40 percent.

But remember that even when triclosan does not degrade into chloroform, it's still dangerous in and of itself, because it enters the environment and eventually creates antibiotic-resistant germs.

It's surprising the problem still exists, considering even the highly conservative American Medical Association's very public slam against antibacterial soaps seven years ago, and undisputed evidence that nothing works better when it comes to hand-washing than plain soap and water, without the unnecessary toxic antibacterial chemicals.

On Vital Votes, reader Suzanne from Calgary, <st1:country-region>Canada</st1:country-region> adds:

"When anti-bacterial soaps first hit the public market (sometime back in 1990's), I thought I would give them a try, being a curious consumer.  I bought some dish soap, only to find out in short order that it was burning my hands especially where my wedding band was.  It did not take long to figure out that the soap was responsible.

"I have never used it since.  Anything that could 'burn' my hand could not possibly be any good to me or anyone else for that matter.  Why do we need anti-bacterial soap anyway? 

"What was wrong with plain soap?  Why don't we ask such simple questions anymore?  Why do we assume that whatever is 'out there' is ok?"

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.




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